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Miami Immigration & Naturalization Law Blog

Thinking of immigrating extended family to Florida, we can help

When loves ones live overseas, it can be very hard seeing them only once or a few times a year. The American dream is still alive and well, but that doesn't mean those who seek it do not have to make sacrifices. One of the sacrifices people often make after immigrating to America is the distance from beloved family members. Now that one is established in Miami, it may be time to think about beginning the immigration process for loves ones located in other countries.

There are many different types of petitions to seek depending on the family relation one has with a loved one who is thinking of immigrating to America. Depending on the family connection -- son, mother or husband, for example -- in relation to the American citizen, there are different preferences certain family members have over others. This can dictate how one seeks out the immigration process. At Kurzban Kurzban Weinger Tetzeli & Pratt P.A., our dedicated staff has years of experience aiding the family immigration process.

Does military service provide benefits under US immigration law?

Throughout this country's history immigrants have volunteered to serve in the U.S. armed forces. Many have given their lives for this country. In Florida there are many veterans who joined the military as immigrants. For them and their family members, military service has often been a first step on the road to becoming a U.S. citizen.

Non-U.S. citizens can join the U.S. military, although they are not eligible to be commissioned officers. An immigrant who wants to join the armed forces must have a green card and reside in the U.S. They may also require a waiver if they are from a country deemed hostile to the U.S.

When lack of informed consent leads to medical malpractice

Florida patients have some important legal rights when they seek medical treatment. One of the most important of these is the right to informed consent. This means that before submitting to a course of treatment or a medical procedure, the doctor must advise the patient of the benefits, risks and alternatives and then get the patient's consent before proceeding.

Ideally the physician will discuss this information with the patient personally and confirm that the patient understands it before obtaining consent to proceed. The doctor should include in the discussion the diagnosis, the purpose of the procedure, and the risks and benefits. The doctor should advise the patient of alternatives to the proposed procedure, and the risks and benefits of these alternatives. If the patient agrees to go ahead with the treatment, he or she should then be asked to sign and date a document confirming they have received the information and that they agree to the procedure.

U.S. immigration law is more strictly enforced at the borders

Most Florida residents who follow immigration news are probably aware that the Obama administration has carried out more deportations of undocumented immigrants than either the Bush or Clinton administrations. Deportations began to rise in 1996 and increased significantly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which led to the devotion of greater resources to immigration enforcement.

After peaking in 2012, however, deportations declined through 2015. This has occurred as the number of apprehensions near the Mexican border has dropped. U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports that those apprehensions so far in 2016 are up slightly over 2015 but are still well below the numbers for 2013 and 2014.

Florida's fictional medical malpractice crisis

For years insurance companies and their allies in the state legislature have been spreading a fiction that Florida is in a medical malpractice lawsuit crisis. According to the insurance companies, doctors have been fleeing the state and those who remain have been forced to practice "defensive medicine" and avoid performing many procedures, all because of skyrocketing malpractice lawsuits. The insurers' PR strategy has been very successful, and the fable of a medical profession beset by frivolous litigation has become widely accepted. But, as data from the National Practitioner Data Bank shows, it's a myth.

Some researchers took the NPDB data regarding malpractice lawsuits by state and calculated the number of lawsuits per 100,000 population in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. How did Florida come out? Some may be surprised by the answer -- Florida ranked 40th of the 51 jurisdictions surveyed. The state had only 16.2 malpractice lawsuits per 100,000 people in the state in 2015. The state with the most malpractice lawsuits per capita, Louisiana, had 44.1 per 100,000 -- still a relatively small number, but more than two and a half times the number in Florida.

Pursuing justice when a drunk driver causes a fatal accident

Drunk driving is a serious problem in Florida. Police and prosecutors are doing all they can to keep drunk drivers off the road. The penalties for drunk driving are more severe today than they have ever been, and years of public awareness campaigns have educated the public about the dangers of intoxicated driving. And yet there are still some people who don't get the message, and they continue to cause accidents - many of them fatal.

The criminal justice system can provide some sense of justice to grieving family members whose loved one was killed by a drunk driver. When a drunk driver causes a fatal accident, he or she can be prosecuted for vehicular manslaughter and can face years in prison if convicted. Florida's civil justice system can also provide them with a different form of justice: financial compensation for the loss of a loved one.

Legal assistance can help in obtaining a non-immigrant visa

Not everyone who comes to the United States intends to stay permanently. Many people come temporarily in connection with their business, job or profession. Whether they are business people, artists, exchange students, investors or athletes, they all need a non-immigrant visa in order to enter the U.S. At the Law Firm of Kurzban Kurzban Weinger Tetzeli & Pratt, P.A. we can help these individuals and their employers obtain the correct visa type for their stay in Florida or anywhere else in the U.S.

Identifying the correct non-immigrant visa to apply for is of paramount importance. There are a number of different types of these visas available, but the applicant must meet the strict criteria for the visa in question.

Attorneys make a difference in Florida immigration courts

When an individual is accused of a crime in the United States, the U.S. Constitution guarantees them the right to an attorney. If the defendant cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint a public defender at no charge to the defendant. But, immigrants in Florida who are detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and facing deportation proceedings have no right to a court-appointed lawyer. They do have the right to hire counsel at their own expense, but this is beyond the means of many detainees.

In many cases, an immigration judge will postpone a hearing to provide the detainee time to find an attorney, but the court will not provide an attorney. Immigrants who do not speak English and do not have family in the U.S. are often unable to find an attorney, even with a postponement. As a result, a postponement often means the detainee just spends more time in the detention center.

Can NAFTA allow for temporary visas for professionals?

People in Miami and across the United States are paying close attention to presidential politics and the discussion regarding various agreements that the U.S. has with other countries for workers. One example is the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). With NAFTA, there are certain circumstances in which immigrants can come from Canada and Mexico with special treatment. Understanding this is important for companies and individuals who would like to have these workers come to the U.S. as well as for workers who would like to work in the U.S.

Under NAFTA, there is an option known as the TN nonimmigrant classification. With it, citizens of Mexico and Canada are able to request entry into the U.S. on a temporary basis so they can take part in business at the professional level. There are certain categories of professionals who are allowed to request this admission. They are attorneys, engineers, accountants, teachers, scientists and pharmacists.

Fatal car crash leads to DUI charges

When heading out onto the road as a driver, bicyclist or pedestrian in Miami, there is always a danger of being in a crash. When there is a fatal car crash, the family left behind will want answers as to how and why it happened. This information can be imperative when the family considers seeking compensation through a wrongful death legal filing.

Recently, a fatal car crash near Miami claimed the life of an 18-year-old man. The 40-year-old driver who caused the crash has been placed under arrest for DUI manslaughter, and he is being held on $50,000 bond. According to the law enforcement investigation, the man charged with DUI was driving an SUV and ran through a red light at about 2:30 a.m. According to witnesses, the SUV driver was speeding; the incident was also captured by a nearby video camera. The driver of the other vehicle was airlifted to the hospital where he was declared dead. Officers found that the SUV driver's blood alcohol content was 0.18 and he was subsequently arrested.

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